Michelle Obama Addresses The Impact “White Flight” In America

How “White Flight” is affecting America At the Obama Foundation Summit this week, former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke out about her childhood in Chicago and the impact “white...

(Photo Credit: Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times)

How “White Flight” is affecting America

At the Obama Foundation Summit this week, former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke out about her childhood in Chicago and the impact “white flight” had on her neighborhood. “White flight” is the term historians use to describe the pattern of white people leaving neighborhoods as they become more diverse.

“Upstanding families like ours, who were doing everything we were supposed to do and better – as we moved in, white folks moved out, because they were afraid of what our families represented,” Obama said. “I always stop there when I talk about this out in the world because I want to remind white folks that y’all were running from us. This family, with all the values you read about: you ran from us. And you’re still running.”

The former First Lady and wife of former President Barack Obama said local businesses “deinvested” in her Chicago neighborhood, causing schools to lose funding and housing value to plummet. This left her South Chicago neighborhood “in shambles.” Obama says white flight is still affecting communities across America today.

“We grew up with friends of all races when we first moved in. We played together. There were no gang fights, there were no territorial battles. And yet one by one, they packed their bags and they left us and they left communities in shambles.”

The solution, Obama says, is more equal funding for all schools and communities.

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